Maine Bagels

The latest edition of Mainer includes an evaluation of many of the local bagel options in the Portland area.

Bagels are kind of like pizza, in that both inspire passionate debate. Multiple cities claim to have the best style, and like pizza, even a mediocre bagel is still OK if you hide it under enough toppings.

To my taste, the perfect bagel starts with a contrast of textures. The outside should be crunchy but not tough; the inside chewy, well risen, and slightly dense. Toppings should complement the subtle, sweet maltiness of the bagel without overpowering it. 

Forage came in first place. Check the article to see how your favorite bagels rated.

Review of Mr. Tuna

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed of the Mr. Tuna restaurant in the Public Market House.

If you’re a fan of Mr. Tuna and you haven’t been to the Monument Square location inside the Portland Public Market, drop what you’re doing. The restaurant’s menu is medium-sized and includes some of Southern Maine’s best sushi, including tightly rolled, thoughtfully composed maki like spicy scallop and Maine crab; hamachi with marinated shishito peppers ($11 for six pieces); and smoky-sweet, pineapple-topped Blackbeard’s Delight. Consistency and execution are phenomenal at Mr. Tuna, which allows them to pull off high-wire dishes like Edo-style yellowtail nigiri, simple salmon belly, and luxuriously creamy sea urchin. For a casual restaurant in a shared building, the quality of food at Mr. Tuna is unparalleled. Don’t miss out.

Reviews: Broken Arrow, Mi Sen

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed of Broken Arrow, and

The frequently updated menu showcases local ingredients and strikes a harmonious balance between comforting dishes like charred-allium smashed potatoes, roasted carrots with tahini, and polenta with wild-boar ragu (echoing the taxidermized boar that glowers bucktoothed over the bar), as well as more refined plates like a memorable tuna crudo with “deviled egg” aioli and sweet corn risotto topped with a quick-pickle-like local tomato salsa that is one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. The dining room is loud and dark, but excellent food and welcoming service make the tradeoff worthwhile.

the Mainer has reviewed of Mi Sen.

The menu and décor haven’t changed much in the last decade, and I love that. I know exactly what to expect and have rarely been disappointed with anything I’ve ordered.

Esquire’s Best New: Twelve

Esquire magazine has named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America.

Though it may be true that Eleven Madison Park is the performative Xanadu of a mad man, it is also one hell of a talent incubator. Before he moved to Maine – his wife, Selena, is a Mainer — Colin Wyatt was the executive sous there. Now he’s one upped EMP at Twelve, located in a reconstituted 150-year old brick storehouse at the water’s edge in Portland, ME. The technique is still there — Wyatt makes particularly good use of ferments and yeast — but Maine is the focus and there’s a New England modesty that prefers showing to telling. There are only twelve items on the prix fixe but Wyatt makes good use of his new home. The state shows up in the colors. The bright orange of sweet potato Parker house rolls mimic the foliage; the pumpkin-seeded butter that accompanies them recalls the fields. And goddamn if his soigne lobster roll — an entire half lobster impossibly folded into a small very buttery laminated dough — doesn’t turn the volume of the old Maine banger up to twelve.

Review of Butcher Burger

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Butcher Burger.

Most menu items are underwhelming, like a dry chicken sandwich and gloppy Caesar salad. Somehow, the eponymous Butcher Burgers manage to be the worst thing on the menu. Tough and overcooked, the bacon-and-beef blend in every patty I tried over two recent visits was gray and desiccated – which led me to a Carrie Bradshaw moment where I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is ‘butcher’ in the name supposed to be a verb?”

Review of Wilson County

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Wilson County Barbecue,

If ketchup-based sauce and beef brisket are all that comes to mind when you hear the word, “barbecue,” it’s time for a visit to Wilson County Barbecue in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. Opened by Spencer Brantley and his business partners from Ri Ra, the restaurant is “a whole-hog-focused, sub-regional restaurant” specializing in Eastern North Carolina barbecue dishes. Chief among them, tangy, pit-smoked pulled pork that gets a jolt from apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes.

Review of Friends & Family

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Friends & Family,

But there’s another 20% to account for at Friends & Family, and that’s Monday Pizza Night – an evening where the menu shrinks to make space for at least three types of pizza. Try the Grandma Slice on any night, but it’s best on Mondays, when the dough gets an extra two days of fermentation time. Thin-crust pizzas served on Pizza Night are also fantastic, especially the Caprese, lavishly topped with fresh mozzarella and local tomatoes. Is Friends & Family a wine bar or a pizza place? Who cares. It’s a delight.

NYT 2022 List: Leeward & Twelve

The New York Times has included Leeward and Twelve on their newly released 2022 list of the “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now.

We traveled widely and ate avidly as we built the annual list of our favorite restaurants in America. From Oklahoma City to Juncos, Puerto Rico, to Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State, our food reporters, editors and critics found revelatory Ethiopian barbecue, innovative Haitian cooking and possibly the most delicious fried pork sandwich in the United States.

Review of Jing Yan, Ice Cream Trucks, Foodtopia

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Jing Yan,

You won’t find menu categories for countries or cuisines; instead you’ll find inventive twists on techniques and ingredients. Start with a plate of numbing Sichuan chicken wings with prickly, tingly spice: some of the best wings anywhere in town. Then go for a bowl of brothless Korean “spaghetti” (really a gochujang-seasoned mazemen ramen) and a clay pot of Eslami’s lush, confit Persian-Peking duck fesenjoon. Thanks to Eslami’s breadth of experience, Jing Yan isn’t a haphazard pan-Asian joint. It’s a tightly conceived restaurant that unites comforting flavors and rock-solid technique.

as well as article about the Deering Ice Cream truck and an article about the book Foodtopia.

BA Best New 50: Regards

Bon Appetit has included Regards in their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants.

Sparkling-fresh Maine seafood doesn’t need much adornment, but chef Neil Zabriskie’s thoughtful garnishing makes the argument for fancying it up. Zabriskie draws on the cuisines of Mexico, Japan, and his native California for his savvy takes. Briny local oysters shine brighter with a judicious splash of yuzu mignonette. Peekytoe crab tastes even sweeter when pressed into a cake with crispy brown rice. Rich, supple hamachi collar feels at home served alongside nori, tare, and lettuces for wrapping. Throw in a smart bar program, a well-curated natural wine list, and Regards feels like a welcome reminder that when it comes to the very best ingredients, a little adorning goes a long way.

Bon Appetit will release their Top 10 list next week.